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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of this book, which is a study of ritual within a community variously referred to as Bhutia, Lhopo or Denjongpa in the agricultural village of Tingchim in North Sikkim. This study explores the rituals and working relations of Buddhist lamas and shamans within the wider context of village life, taking into consideration the sacred history of the land as well as its more recent political and economic transformation. It addresses the questions: why village lamas seem uninterested in eradicating, or at least controlling, the shamans? practices in the way that Tibetan Buddhist lamas generally advocate; and why villagers? relational or shamanic view of the universe seems to endure despite a decline in shamanic practices? The chapter presents an overview of how the other chapters of the book are organised.

Keywords: Buddhist lamas; shamanic practices; Tibetan Buddhist communities; Tingchim



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